Vintage Departures


The City Victorious

Publisher: Vintage
From a noted journalist who has spent much of his life in Cairo, here is a dazzling cultural excavation of that most ancient, colorful, and multifaceted of cities. The seat of pharaohs and sultans, the prize of conquerors from Alexander to Saladin to Napoleon, Cairo--nicknamed "the Victorious"--has never ceased reinventing herself.

With intimate knowlege, humor, and affection, Rodenbeck takes us on an insider's tour of the magnificent city: its backstreets and bazaars, its belly-dance theaters and hashish dens, its crowded slums and fashionable salons, its incomparably rich past and its challenging future. Cairo: The City Victorious is a unique blend of travel and history, an epic, resonant work that brings one of the world's great metropolises to life in all its dusty, chaotic beauty.


        Tall buildings are no novelty to Cairo. Its loftiest medieval minarets are 250 feet high, and even the apartment houses of a thousand years ago were commonly seven or, by one account, up to fourteen stories tall. Skyscrapers by the Nile now rise to three or four times that...
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"An enormously entertaining read.... Rodenbeck's lively and affectionate portrait...veers easily between past and present, personal and historical." --The Washington Post Book World

"A book to read: one that will easily fit in your carry-on bag, and should greatly enhance any vacation or business trip to Cairo, short or long." --The New York Times Book Review

"Rodenbeck unwinds Cairo's tale with witty, clear-eyed affection. He has a lightness of touch and erudition, a skill with anecdote, that recreates Egypt--for all Egypt's roads lead to Cairo--in all its contradictoriness." --The Economist